Republicans have accused Gov. Whitmer of trying to go her own way on coronavirus restrictions.
Republican legislators in Michigan are blasting Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for ordering new coronavirus-related restrictions.
Gov. Whitmer, reports MLive.com, unveiled an assortment of new containment measures late Sunday evening.
While a recent case determined by the Michigan Supreme Court voided many of Gov. Whitmer’s coronavirus-related executive orders, she can still enact policy through the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) lambasted what he perceives to be unilateral action by the governor’s office.
“We are disappointed that Gov. Whitmer chose to go it alone, again,” Shirkey said.
Shirkey’s sentiment was echoed by House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican from Lansing.
“As always, we stand ready to act in a bipartisan way when the governor decides it is worth her time,” Chatfield said. “Until then, we are still reviewing the details of this order like everyone else.”
The latest restrictions, says MLive.com, were issued through the office of DHHS Director Robert Gordon. They include a three-week pause on certain activity, such as indoor dining, along with mandatory online learning for high school students and the temporary cessation of non-professional organized sports.
However, MLive.com observes that, for all of Republicans’ rhetoric, they have yet to create anything resembling a comprehensive containment plan for coronavirus. While they have helped draft legislation relating to unemployment benefits and support for health care workers, conservatives have been reluctant to support social distancing measures or mask mandates.
By and large, though, Michigan Republicans have been more concerned with re-opening the state’s economy and delegating more power to county- and local-level health departments. They have also pushed back against Gov. Whitmer’s request to codify a DHHS order requiring mask usage in public.
MLive.com notes that congressional Democrats—who are a minority in Michigan’s House and Senate—have voiced support for Gov. Whitmer’s actions throughout the pandemic’s course.
“Again, Gov. Whitmer is rising to the challenge, and again, her administration’s actions will save lives,” Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich of Flint said in a statement. “She should not have to keep carrying this torch alone. Our common enemy is COVID-19, and we must be in this fight together.”
But Gov. Whitmer has also faced attacks and criticism from outside the state.
Dr. Scott Atlas, an advisor for President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, publicly called on Americans to “rise up” in response to coronavirus-related restrictions nationwide.
“The only way this stops is if people rise up,” Atlas wrote on Twitter. “You get what you accepted.”
In a follow-up tweet, Atlas clarified that he was not condoning violence. However, Gov. Whitmer was targeted earlier this year by a failed kidnapping or murder plot—spearheaded by members of a local militia with out-of-state support—after President Trump repeatedly criticized her handling of the pandemic.